The PGA Tour is staging its first full-field event of the year in Oahu this week, the Sony Open, and if two straight weeks of watching the world’s best hit shots against a pure ocean backdrop doesn’t inspire you to start thinking about planning a Hawaiian golf getaway, I don’t know what will.
The good news? Traveling to Hawaii isn’t as expensive as you think. Last week’s invite-only event, the Sentry Tournament of Champions, on the island of Maui was contested on the publicly-accessible (albeit expensive) Plantation course, and although the Sony Open players are competing on Oahu’s private Wailalae Country Club this week, it’s possible to get a tee time there yourself if you stay at the adjacent Kahala Hotel & Resort. Here’s how to do it for less than $1,700.
Hawaii is not exactly a convenient destination for most of us mainlanders, even if you live on the West Coast, so I would recommend a lengthier stay than the usual long-weekend itinerary to maximize your enjoyment — especially if you’re coming from the east. However, for the purposes of this story, we’ll assume you’re taking a three-night getaway, which is totally feasible from airports like LAX, SFO and SEA, where direct flights to Honolulu (HNL) for a Friday to Monday itinerary in early March range from $380-$428 (prices via Expedia).
From starting points like ORD and JFK, you’re looking at $560-$632 — but the flights are direct!
TOTAL AIRFARE: ~$470
While I like the freedom of having access to your own car while on vacation, you’ll have to weigh your options on whether or not it works for you on a short jaunt. Renting a car means you have to pay for parking at most hotels, not to mention putting a limit on your Pina Coladas and Mai Tai consumption when you opt to venture somewhere.
Thus, for a short weekend getaway, I like the idea of staying put at the resort and Ubering to and from the airport. For a stay at Kahala, that means you’ll only need to spend about $50 each way for the 25-minute drive from the airport, which you can split with your travel buddy — yay!
TOTAL SPEND: $470 + $50 = $520
The beautiful Kahala Hotel & Resort is situated on a pristine, white-sand beach just 10 minutes away from the fun and bustle of Waikiki. And with the resort’s Ultimate Golf Experience package, you can not only get a round for two at LPGA host Ko Olina or PGA Tour host Waialae CC, you’ll also get a three-night stay, daily breakfast buffet for two, and be blessedly exempt from resort fees. The total cost for the three-night stay I booked in March was $1,948.59 — only $974.30 when split between two people!
Something to keep in mind: Tee times can booked up to 30 days in advance with the package, but can only be made on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in the morning. They’re also subject to availability, so make sure to do your homework before making plans.
TOTAL SPEND: $520 + $974.30 = $1,494.30
When you’re on a Hawaiian getaway, it’s nearly impossible to keep from splurging just a little, so give yourself a bit of a break when it comes to budget. It definitely helps that your breakfasts are included in the package, so hurray for that.
Try this outline to keep yourself in check for the remaining meals on your trip:
Arrival dinner: $45
Day 1 lunch: $25
Day 1 dinner: $45
Day 2 lunch: $25
Day 2 dinner: $45
Day 3 golf course lunch: $20
TOTAL DINING SPEND: $205
TOTAL SPEND: $1,494.30 + $205 = $1,699.30
And there you have it! Three nights in a luxe Hawaiian resort, and a round of golf at an exclusive PGA Tour venue for less than $1,700! Ready to book? Happy travels!
To receive GOLF’s newsletters, subscribe for free here.